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"Cruel Seas Starter Game set - 1st Impressions" Topic

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Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2018 7:32 a.m. PST

Hello All,

I received my pre-order package yesterday for Cruel Seas the Starter Game set, a Tanker model, & the hardbound rulebook (great delivery time to the USA from the UK btw)!

Perhaps this thread could serve for giving our initial [pre-play] impressions about Cruel Seas as a product?

So here's some of my (things I really like about the Starter Set) initial impressions -

Nice look and quality printing to all the game's components.
The rulebook is laid out in a 'start here' and learn the basics rules w/intro-scenarios format, and then progresses to the advanced rules and missions.
There's reference pages of current and additional ship model types included, listing their game stats and possible weapon configurations.
There's a 2-page QRS at the back of the rulebook.
A nice, additional painting guide w/Vallejo & Army Painter bottle color #s (and with a few mixing combos) is included as a Getting Started pamphlet.
The starter box's plastic Torpedo Boats are nicely-molded (although there's a little warpage and mold-peg cleanup required on the resin Tanker model that was an additional item).
The 1/300th scale weapons, crew figures, and ship equipment, which are cast in metal and included with the tanker model look good.

Now some 'concerns/additional wants' 1st impressions -

I'm anticipating the need to heat-laminate some of the game's player aids before heavy use might cause early wear and tear (the wake markers, and ship cards are thin, but do appear to be 'plastic' coated already).
I'm also wondering if the ship cards might need to be scanned for enlargement as some of the print is rather small and hard to read.
How long will the slider tabs included for tracking ship damage really last? A magnetic pegs system might be a user-created retrofit option, for better long-term game use.
Although a 2-page QRS is printed within the rulebook, I wish there was a flyer of this included in the starter package (maybe a PDF will be available from Warlord subsequently?)
Really wish there were crew figures included along with the plastic torpedo boats in the starter game set (some crew figures seem to be available now with the flotilla and fleet sets [but this unconfirmed at this time of writing since I've not purchased these items]).

Overall, I think my received Cruel Seas components display a high degree of initial product quality. From my own experience, I'm anticipating some need to laminate/enlarge/prepare another ship cards "tracking" system (maybe the lamination w/dry-erasable pens method will be the easiest upgrade).

Curious to hear the product's 1st-impressions from others of the TMP gamer community here too.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP07 Dec 2018 8:32 a.m. PST

I have a similar "slider" approach for damage levels and engine settings in my new "Narrow Seas" rules. I agree, laminating the cards is a good idea, I'm using coloured paper clips as sliders.

Spanner10 Dec 2018 1:22 p.m. PST

Cruel Seas starter arrived today. All looks good but a more detailed look through will be had this weekend.

The tanker is a very nice model and was pleasantly surprised to find crew figures included in the metal bits. The tankers resin parts will need to work to clean off the mold=pegs but I was surprised at the softness of the resin which has resulted in warping. I will have to try the boiling water/cold water approach to see is it can be resolved without having to base.

Laminating the card components is a great idea.

But on the whole pleased with what has arrived.

ruralgamer11 Dec 2018 5:33 a.m. PST

The game looks interesting. Have you had a chance to play it yet? Can you give us your initial impressions?

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2018 6:54 a.m. PST

RG, I haven't yet. At the moment I'm readying the tanker model for painting, and foresee a couple weeks ahead till I get my stuff ready for the game board (also modifying a digital texture file that I'll have printed out on vinyl for an ocean mat).
My first "official" game date is the first Saturday in January, where I've got Cruel Seas slotted to play at our monthly game day. Having the game Full Monty (prepped and freshly painted) will ensure the best reception by the buds and potential shop-going attendees.

Have you seen the play-through video -

TMP link

I think the game looks fun, and having looked through the rule book's scenarios, there seems to be good missions to enjoy, and templates to expand upon. My general feeling is that a lot depends on a game's scenarios anyway. Maybe I'm being less critical of Cruel Seas here initially, because naval gaming hasn't been a big interest of mine, and that I'm looking at it from the eyes of one who might be called a casual gamer to the genre. I'm also taking a "meta" view to what might be the reaction of the typical gamer experiencing Cruel Seas is it fun, engaging enough, and good looking (much of the later my own responsibility) to get the crowd to want to play it more? If so, it'll be a success in my eyes, and something that makes the "rotation".

ruralgamer11 Dec 2018 5:42 p.m. PST

Thanks for the response! I look forward to your further comments (and those of anyone else who would care to chime in). I would appreciate it if you could eventually comment on playing time, ease of learning the rules, and general "playability".

I have not been able to find any reviews of the game on line. I do certainly feel that the subject matter deserves a good game that covers it. I hope this is it.
I was not aware of the link you provided. Unfortunately, due to limited bandwidth, I will not be able to watch it. (I'm not kidding about the "rural" part….)

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2018 1:38 p.m. PST

RG, the only thing I can imagine I might modify after a few games, would be to have some initiative interrupts enabled to affect the random, dice-pulling activation mechanics.

Random activation [pulling each side's order dice from a container] can set up some real adverse swings/strings of activation, and so having a few interrupt "chits" or some such that players can intervene with during especially critical sequences, can help smooth out these randomly-occurring advantages.

I'd probably use the various crew skill ratings in the rules to establish a ranking system, which could allow for some extra, one-time interrupt chits to be granting a side for using – maybe something as simple as allowing a challenge – to a high-dice roll-off, if the non-phasing side wishes to attempt to change the activation dice to theirs (something along this line of thinking perhaps).

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